Inviting private investment, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu has said that Indian Railways is “open for long term & short term investors”. Addressing a workshop on ‘Leveraging Private Investment in Railways’, Prabhu said that the government is “creating a platform where individual priority can be matched with Indian Railways”. Highlighting that the potential for investment in Indian Railways is huge, Prabhu said that the “possibilities of end-to-end logistics support is huge in Railways.” “Unless logistics & transportation comes together, enhancement of value of business won’t take place,” he said. “Indian Railways has a unique character. There are growing demands and Railways also need to grow. Railways has continuous source of revenue. Structuring investment is necessary to move forward,” he added.
In January, Suresh Prabhu announced several policy initiatives to increase the non-fare revenue of the Indian railways by around Rs 16,500 crore in the next ten years. The new policy initiatives included out-of-home advertisements, content on demand, branding of trains, non-fare revenue policy and ATM policy. According to the Ministry of Railways, the new policy initiatives will look into different areas ranging from advertising in trains, bridges and other assets, as also setting up of ATMs at platforms.
The railways also announced its train branding policy, through which it aims to generate Rs 2,000 crore by allowing internal and external advertisement in the trains. Train branding packages sizes shall be offered for bidding in a phased manner for Rajdhani package, Shatabdi package etc, it said.
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Recently, Indian Railways unveiled a series of initiatives to perk up railways revenue through increase in the freight share and passengers segment. The business plan envisages commissioning 100 new freight terminals, introduction of double stack dwarf containers and firming up long term agreements with freight customers. Prabhu said “The business plan-2017-18 was formulated to cater to the requirement of stakeholders and we have changed the policy after discussion with our customers.”
Taking note of railways falling share, he said “Normally a leaf from the tree does not fall like that. The process starts long before the fall. Similarly the decline in traffic has also started not now but much before. “Once railway was only option for freight so it had the monopoly. But with the change of time railways share started declining. There are various reasons like economic slowdown on global stage which affected Indian market also,” the minister said.
(With inputs from Agencies)